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The absolutely stellar localization of the Revolutionary Girl Utena on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Nozomi, provides a comprehensive resource of written materials from the laserdiscs, other places, as well as exclusive content. I cross-referenced the book published with the limited edition Blu-ray against the 20th anniversary Japanese Blu-ray release, and the only major material that was not brought to us are these mini-interviews with the voice actors for the primary cast, published alongside the character pages. Having provided the raw text on Historia Arcana, I'm excited to say these little relics got a translation! We rarely hear from the voice cast, so this is a gem. Also included in this is a special message from Tomoko Kawakami's mother, published in the Blu-ray

Thank you so much to Nagumo for these translations!

Utena Tenjou [Kawakami Tomoko]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Kawakami: It feels kind of like my life’s over. Like I’ve used up all my energy. And I feel deeply moved somehow. Yes.

- What did you think of the last episode’s ending?

Kawakami: Ultimately, I kind of felt like what Utena ended up revolutionizing in Revolutionary Girl Utena was Anthy. Anthy’s heart was moved and you could say she was able to get back some of her humanity. Everyone around them was changed too. Because Utena put in so much effort, the hearts of everyone around were changed. But then you could say that Akio’s the only one who couldn’t change. Narratively speaking, I think Akio-san is the most pitiable. Because, you know, Akio-san’s an adult. He’s got that feeling like his youth is already over. I think that’s the difference between Utena and Akio-san.

- What sort of impression did going through the series “Utena” leave you with?

Kawakami: For my own part, along with the protagonist, Utena, I pushed myself to the limit, burning through my life, doing my best. Of course I’ve worked hard on all of the shows I’ve done up till now, but this is the first time I’ve played a character at the center of the story, so, because I felt like I was burning through my soul, I feel like my life has reached its end along with the end of this work. I’m sure the people watching will also love Utena, who gives it her all. There might be some people who think “What a tryhard character,” but I like Utena that way. It’s been a year where, because of the time I spent alongside her, I was made to realize “I’m so terrible at living,” and I reconfirmed that having genuine, pure feelings is absolutely important, and have tried to change myself.

Anthy Himemiya [Fuchizaki Yuriko]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Fuchizaki: I constantly found myself wondering, “What’s going to happen? How’s it going to end?” The director, Ikuhara, told me that it would be a happy ending, but when I saw the actual ending, I thought, “Ah, so this is how it finishes.” My impression of the story was that, from start to finish, it just kept getting deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper, with the plot twisting and turning right up until the very end. I thought it was a fairly adult story and I felt like it’s a story that will give children strange dreams. (laugh) I love the world of Utena and I’m disappointed that it’s over, but I’m left with a delighted, lingering curiosity over what the next development will be.

Akio Ohtori [Jurota Kosugi]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Kosugi: I joined in the middle of the series. It was a profoundly mysterious series with an equally mysterious cast, you couldn't tell what was going to happen at all. Indeed, even the last episode made me go "Oh, so that's how it went," since I couldn't predict how it was going to go. It was fun just being taken for a ride. Yes.

- So what did you think of the last episode's ending? Kawakami-san said that Akio's an adult and this is where he ends up at the end.

Kosugi: He wasn't able to have his Revolution this time. But Akio is still at Ohtori Academy, so there's a chance a Rose Bride will appear again as well as someone like Utena. He might think, "Here's another who might be able to bring on the Revolution." (laugh) The series is over but you must wonder, "What is Akio going to do now?"

- What were your thoughts on Akio?

Kosugi: A mysterious man. You can't tell what he's thinking. I didn't grasp his character in the beginning, but well, as I was performing, I began to get a grip on him through my own understanding.

- So what type of character did you think Akio was?

Kosugi: Hm, in a word, selfish.

Touga Kiryuu [Takehito Koyasu]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Koyasu: First of all, I thought to myself, "Just how much of this character is genuine, just how much is he actually acting of his own will?" He was someone I just couldn’t understand at first, but he turned out exactly as I thought. Yes, he wasn’t acting entirely on his own judgement but rather he was mimicking Akio, yearning to become like him. A pale imitation of another man. And so, I think that’s why he was acting like such a playboy. In the end, Touga is just a self-conscious insecure kid. I was relieved to learn that, but on the other hand...I was right, and he was a weak human being after all. I’m a weak human being too, though maybe not quite so much so, and I wanted for you to see through all of that, even his desire to hide his weakness from everyone, to Touga's inner strength.

- What are your thoughts about your performance?

Koyasu: I have done a lot of roles for handsome young guys but this is the first I’ve played a playboy character like Touga, a guy who leads girls on. It was a fresh new experience for me, as was playing a character who added ze to the end of their sentences like in nantokadaze and used ore as a first person pronoun. So I was quite excited. What I mean is, it was a lot of fun.

Note: Ending sentences with '-ze' is considered a touch rude, and for only informal settings. It's used by men to add assertiveness to what they are saying, by adding a connotation of force and command. The personal pronoun 'ore' is a common personal pronoun for young men. It has a haughty, perhaps overconfident, connotation to it, and implies aggressiveness. What he's probably getting at is that this character projects a sense of entitlement and need for status that he doesn't usually perform. "Putting on airs," so to speak. - Giovanna

Kyouichi Saionji [Kusao Takeshi]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Kusao: In the first episode, you knew that there were many mysterious things happening in the background, and it would finally be revealed in the final episode. It was impressive how they built that impression in this series.

- What are your thoughts on your character?

Kusao: I wished they gave him more screen time. (laugh) I mean, Saionji got betrayed by Touga midway, and there was a lot of drama going on. He wasn't just a secondary handsome character but had deeper internal aspects. He was a fun character to act.

- Was there anything that left an impression on you?

Kusao: I guess that would be the first episode! After such a gallant and cool debut on screen, I wondered, "Where did he go?" (laugh) I hope that everyone watching noticed that apparent change. My hope in performing this role is that you can hear Saionji's desire to be on screen more.

- So that's the sort of feeling you acted with?

Kusao: That's right, if the audience went "Ah, I'd like to see more of Saionji," I would be very pleased.

Juri Arisugawa [Mitsuishi Kotono]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Mitsuishi: I can’t help but feel like a commoner entering a grand palace when I think back on Utena. (laugh) It was such a beautiful world that I thought, "where the heck does a school like this even exist?" Also, you can never figure out what was happening. (laugh) It’s not as if the drama or the dialogue can explain everything, it’s a bit cruel but luckily there’s no hurry to come to your own conclusion. It’s best to think through its hidden layers and then you’ll suddenly figure it out on your own, and you'll go "Of course, now I see…"

- And regarding Juri?

Mitsuishi: I always felt extremely anxious and asked "are you sure about this, Director?" all the time. I did my best but I was breaking new grounds for myself.

- What was their reaction?

Mitsuishi: Their reaction. When it was my turn (the episodes where Juri is the main character), we had a pretty good reaction. At that time, I felt I was able to understand her feelings since Juri is normally very stoic and guarded but when it’s time to go all out, she explodes with energy. (laugh)

Miki Kaoru [Hisakawa Aya]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Hisakawa: It honestly felt like it was over too soon. I think that the people watching it on TV are at the mercy of the show’s creators, manipulated and tumbled around in the palm of their hands, but even I, as one of the actors, didn’t know how it would all end, so I was also at their mercy.

- Do you remember anything interesting in particular?

Hisakawa: What left an impression was that the show's way of making people laugh was extremely unique and interesting. Nanami-chan’s episodes were inevitably comedic ones. They were hilarious and they made us laugh each and every time. As for Miki, in his episodes, I felt that he was able to mature without too many issues. I don’t have that much confidence that I was able to settle into my role (laugh).

- You were great.

Hisakawa: No way. This was the first boy character I’ve played as part of the main cast, so I was extremely nervous. I was relieved when it was over. (laugh) I’m happy to have a page of my history as a performer dedicated to Miki. Thank you very much.

Nanami Kiryuu [Shiratori Yuri]

- Now that you’ve finished recording the final episode, what are your thoughts and feelings, looking back over the past year?

Shiratori: Throughout the entire thing, I felt that the theme was how each character had to pierce their own shell. I feel that Nanami-chan matured, and revolutionized herself.

- So she was a unique character.

Shiratori: It’s the first time I’ve played such a character, and when I started, I decided to show off 100% her more entertaining aspects. When I look back after everything was over, it was a blast to play her, and I was able to create this personal portrayal of Nanami.

"Utena and Tomoko Kawakami" [Seiko Kawakami]

Director Ikuhara’s title character "Tenjou Utena" was a major role that she was happy to accept, but at the same time she was very nervous about it. As a voice actress she had been slowly getting roles, she learned while still in high school to act, and knew just how a single voice can influence a work. As she was pursuing a career as an actress or a voice actress, she received a letter from her former university professor Ayukawa Yukio proclaiming, "I am against letting her become a voice actress. It’s such a waste."

Utena is a highly unusual work with a peculiar plot compared to other anime aimed at children. It was a difficult role to play for her, but Director Ikuhara was also visually oriented (such as in the case of all those beautiful men) and he was able to clearly articulate his way of thinking... She studied hard how to best express Utena and fit it in the world of Ohtori and such before finally reaching the acting voice of the character. In my eyes, she performed as though she was facing a deadly contest in earnest.

As the anime continued broadcast, she grew more confident and became friends with the director and fellow co-stars of the work. She was suddenly struck ill without warning, and she fought for two years and eleven months before finally succumbing. It was a bitter blow. When Director Ikuhara and Saitou Chiho-sensei came together to visit her at the hospital, Tomoko was extremely happy to see them and said, "I want to get better soon so that we can work together again!!"

On March 3, 2012 she won the Voice Actor Special Award, which I attended on Tomoko’s behalf. When I went on stage to receive the trophy, I was asked to 'please say a word,' so I said: "For nearly three years, Tomoko fought her illness before she passed on, and though she has departed, I am truly grateful to you all for this award. She should be the one up here to accept and thank you all, but sadly it must be her mother instead." But after saying that the officiating announcer Hasegawa proclaimed, "Tomoko has not departed. She breathed life into an anime character with her voice. That will live on forever, and so Kawakami Tomoko will live on forever."

When she was hospitalized, and even after she'd passed, she received mountains of fan mail. In them, people would inevitably write how "Tomoko-san’s voice gives joy, hope, courage and comfort." Though Tomoko’s time with us was short, she lived life to the fullest, and I believe that her voice lives on in all of us.

- Tomoko Kawakami’s Mother, Seiko Kawakami

Kawakami Tomoko is, and will forever be, our Revolutionary Girl Utena. She still shines.
- Ikuhara Kunihiko

Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) is © Kunihiko Ikuhara, Chiho Saito, Shogakukan and bePapas/TV Tokyo and/or their respective copyright holders. The US release of the Revolutionary Girl Utena series and movie was © Central Park Media and now belongs to Right Stuf. The US release of the Utena manga is © VIZ. The various sources used in this site are noted where their content is presented. Don't sue us, seriously. Blood. Stone.